We’re introducing an exciting new way to connect and support parents and caretakers of those with special needs and disabilities. Read below for the heart behind this ministry and how you can join in or invite others to join
Lorin Powell, Special Needs Coordinator
Who is God talking about when the Bible uses the term the “body of believers” or the “church”? Most of the time we would answer: both Gentiles and Jews, those of all nations and races. But let’s look at what God’s Word says:
1 Corinthians 12:18 – 22
8 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (NIV)
These verses are loaded with truth, but I want to focus on two points.
In verse 8, it is clear that God is the one who purposely places all the parts, “every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” He makes the choice. He does so with purpose. He is specific down to every last part!
After then describing that there are different parts with different purposes to make the one body, he goes even further in verse 22. He says that contrary to our human thought, the parts that seem to be “weaker” are actually “indispensable.” These “weaker” parts have a designed and specific role that fully completes the body!
So who are “the parts that seem to be weaker”? In our society, those impacted by special needs or disabilities are seen as “weaker,” of less value, of less capability. This could be a spouse with dementia, a man who is blind, a teenager with Autism, a child with cerebral palsy or a person suffering with anxiety. Even as Christians we may see people with disabilities as in need of our care or assistance but not as valuable parts of society.
God’s word says something completely different. Not only does He choose specifically to include these “weaker” parts in our body, but says we are not complete if we are not fully including and enabling them to fulfill their purpose in our body!
Romans 12:4-5 describes the body this way:
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (NIV)
How can we be a church that lives this out?
1) Go out of your way to welcome and embrace those that are impacted by disability. View and treat everyone God brings into our congregation as valuable. For we are all created in His image and perfect in our design. (More on that in a later blog.)
A parent began to cry when I reached out and asked what they loved about their child (who happens to have special needs.) She stated that no one had ever asked about her son in that way before.
2) Be a friend. We all need to be in community and have a desire to be known. Get to know a person who happens to have a disability or special need. I guarantee that you will be changed by it.
You can volunteer as a Buddy in FellowshipKids. You will smile and laugh as you are challenged to see the world in a new way! Try to describe to a child with Autism how God is “indestructible” in a concrete way.
3) Be committed to fully integrating people with disabilities into all ministries. Intentionally work to ensure existing ministries are accessible. Search out ways that those with disabilities can be co-laborers in ministry. God has created us all to serve and praise Him with every fiber of our beings. We all have spiritual gifts designed by God. Help a person with disabilities use them!
How can a person who is blind teach young children? Visit Children’s Church on Sunday at 10:30 am and find out!
4) Look for ways to specifically care for and provide faith-based support for families who are impacted with special needs. This could be a person struggling to care for a spouse with dementia, a sibling of a child who has a chronic illness, or a new parent hearing a scary diagnosis.
NEW FACEBOOK GROUP
To this end, FCC has a private Facebook page called FCC Warriors in Christ: Parents/ Caretakers of persons impacted by disabilities/ special needs.
This is a closed Fellowship Community Church community for parents and caretakers of any person impacted by disabilities / special needs. This includes but is not limited to: chronic illness, autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, anxiety, and trauma. The page is a community of hope in God through scripture, encouraging, supporting, discipling, and praying. It is a place to share faith-based resources, prayer requests, experiences, triumphs and sorrows with each other.
Click here to join the group or search “FCC Warriors in Christ” in Facebook.